Growing our Clean Energy Economy and Protecting our Environment

Today we face more urgent and pressing dangers to our environment, our economy, and the future health of Iowans than ever before. Our planet is warming at a quickening rate and large corporations are taking advantage of every loophole they can to pollute our environment so they can make a slightly larger profit at the expense of American families – all while working to set back our clean energy economy that creates jobs for Iowans. I’ll always be a voice for common sense policies that protect our air and water, support the clean energy jobs of the future, and preserve Iowa’s climate so that our farming communities can still exist far into the future.

The effects of climate change are projected to shrink our local economic output by up to 5%,1 and it will be working families that bear the brunt of that damage. Ask any farmer here in the First District and they’ll tell you first hand that instances of drought and unusual weather are taking ever larger tolls on their crop production. We need to be growing our clean energy sector to create jobs and reduce emissions, not taking actions that stunt the spread of renewable technology and give our robust private sector fewer incentives to invest in our region.

The good news is that here in Iowa we have some of the best renewable energy resources in the country. Our clean energy economy already supports over 30,000 jobs statewide, while we generate more of our energy from wind than any other state.2 We lead the nation in ethanol production, creating over a quarter of the entire country’s manufacturing capacity.3 We can’t afford to turn away from this progress and throw out the gains to our economy and environment that we’ve built. I will make it a priority to support policies that continue this growth and preserve our status as a national leader in clean energy production, while at the same time strengthening our renewable energy manufacturing sector to create even more good jobs at good wages for Eastern Iowans.

I’m not new to this fight. While serving in Des Moines, I fought back against efforts by the fossil fuel industry to neuter the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University – a key leader in growing Iowa’s clean energy economy and conducting renewable energy research – by transferring it to a state agency that could end its principal mission. By using the Freedom of Information Act process, I exposed the involvement of fossil fuel lobbyists in drafting secret legislation to transfer control of the center, revealing the true motive for the move.4

  1. “Here’s how much climate change is going to cost your county.” Science Magazine, 6/29/17
  2. “Will Iowa continue adopting wind, solar without federal mandate?” Des Moines Register, 10/9/17
  3. Iowa, U.S. Energy Information Administration
  4. “Iowa State worked with utilities to uproot key energy center.” Associated Press, 7/4/17